BAGHDAD (AP) -- A battle raged Thursday in west Baghdad after residents rose up against al-Qaida and called for U.S. military help to end random gunfire that forced people to huddle indoors and threats that kept students from final exams, a member of the district council said.
U.S. forces backed by helicopter gunships clashed with suspected al-Qaida gunmen in western Baghdad's primarily Sunni Muslim Amariyah neighborhood in an engagement that lasted several hours, said the district councilman, who would not allow use of his name for fear of al-Qaida retribution.
Casualty figures were not immediately available and there was not immediate word from the U.S. military on the engagement.
But the councilman said the al-Qaida leader in the Amariyah district, known as Haji Hameed, was killed and 45 other fighters were detained.
Members of al-Qaida, who consider the district part of their so-called Islamic State of Iraq, were preventing students from attending final exams, shooting randomly and forcing residents to stay in their homes, the councilman said.
Speaking of final exams, look at the photo:
A young Iraqi seeks shelter behind a U.S. soldier following a suicide blast.
Question: In Iraq, who are the terrorists, and who are the true freedom fighters?